I have been giving this a lot of thought over the last 4 months, and have decided to stir up some thoughts about nothing (actual important thoughts about something). I know that I might be pushing some buttons, or maybe playing with a hornets nest, or maybe I am just stating the obvious. But, I want to hear what others are saying on this issue.
Starting today, Monday the 16th of February, Presidents day, I am going to be doing a 5 part “series” on the issue of war, Christianity, and peace. I would love to hear from everyone and anyone this week, whether you want to blast me for what I am saying or agree with me on something, please feel free to weigh in. I encourage everyone to have some thoughts on this very important subject. So here we go….
War and Peace Pt. 1
The state of Christianity in America
Over the last 7 or 8 years I have been able to think on my own. Meaning, I have been able to learn and come up with rational thoughts that were formed by my own experience, opinion, rationality, and lessons learned. Obviously, I am wiser than I was 8 years ago (I think) and so I have been able to think and form opinions in new ways. One of the biggest ways that I have learned to think is through experience. Whether it be at church, something that has happened to me good or bad, books, or things that happen to others that I hear about, I have been able to learn from all of these situations. Growing up in this last decade, I have been exposed to many new thoughts and ways of doing things. One thing that has always stuck out to me is the way that Christianity is represented in America. For some reason I never felt right about it and never wanted to really be associated with it. I remember the first time I read the phrase of “christ follower” in Don Millers Blue Like Jazz and thought, “Ya, that makes sense, that is what I am.” Not a Christian like these other crazy people, but a Christ Follower that follows what Jesus said and only that. For the generations before, it is what Dr. Campolo said, “Red Letter Christian.” And yet that phrase “Christ Follower” has even adapted to something that I really don’t want to be associated with today. I guess you could say that it was humanized or Americanized and has become something different than what I know or thought it was in the past. And when I say Americanized, I mean that it has been turned into an American version of Christianity. Now obviously we know that Christianity is not exclusive to Americans, actually it spreads to ever tribe and generation (Acts 1:8). But for some reason I missed this, I often clapped when someone said “God Bless America.” I think a lot of this came around the time of September 11, 2001. I was a junior in high school and was really starting to question/learn about Christianity and what it meant to be a Christ follower. This was a very critical time in my development of how I viewed religion in America. In 2003 the war in Iraq was starting/heating up and I was all for it. Wanting our soldiers to bring piece in the way of force. In 2004 when Bush was running for re-election I punched my vote in the way of God and voted for a “Christian” man to continue to run this country. I put my allegiance in the cross but also in the nation. I was starting to think about the possibilities of if people would just follow christian ways America would be a better place and a lot of our problems would disappear. Then came the gay marriage issue and I started to feel threatened and afraid that marriage was being re-defined and that we needed to protect our beliefs and the Christian principles that this nation was founded on.
All these events, along with many other things led me up to this most recent election. I was torn, do I vote for a new way of thinking, or do I go with some of the same principles of the last 8 years. But I knew that there was something more to this, like there was a whole other issue that was missing and I could not place my finger on it. Until finally one day it clicked, and it clicked when I was at my teacher orientation and the issue of the pledges came up. The principle started to talk about how we need to pledge to the American and Christian flags every morning and that this was very important because the two were not separated and that we needed to take back this country for God and that is what we were doing in our high school. That statement continued to ring in my ears, over and over. Take back this country for God. What does that mean? Does that even sound right? Does God care? All these questions started to run through my head. After hours of reading and conversations had, I have come to this thinking, America is not a Christian nation. It never has been and never will be. And I am glad it is that way. Over the next week I am going to discuss why I think America is not a Christian nation and why I disagree with war.
This might sound like I am turning into a liberal, it might sound like I have no clue what I talking about, and it might sound like I am trying to stir up trouble. Maybe all are true, but I want to bring up an issue that has been going in my mind for a little time now, and I would like for you to think/weigh in on this issue.
Umbrella of Grace is here, we are under grace of God and the umbrella goes to all who want to comment.
Over the next week I am going to talk about:
1) the myth of a christian nation
2) why i disagree with war
3) christians response to america
4) what now
Hope you come back for more